One wrinkle I forgot to mention is that moving coil cartridges come in three output levels. The "low output" type puts out around .5mv. These are generally more costly, and they must be used with a step-up transformer or a preamp which has a specific setting for this type. The "medium output" type puts out around 2mv, and the "high output" type puts out the standard 5mv that moving magnet types do. These last two types do not need a step-up transformer, although the "medium output" type will require the volume knob to be advanced a bit farther to get the same volume level as with other sources.
They type I have, and the one that was used for the transfer of the vinyl tracks on the Smackdown CD is of the "high output" type.
I would avoid at all costs buying a moving magnet type. I have owned moving magnet cartridges all my life but when I swtiched to a moving coil recently, the difference was dramatic, with an opening up of the presentation which frankly amazed me.
In any event, either a preamp with a phono input will be required or a seperate phono preamp. These are not terribly expensive. Add in a good anti-static brush, and you're off to vinyl-land.....
Many current bands are issuing their latest releases on vinyl, in addition to the regular CD. Many people have been labelling this era as the "second golden age" of vinyl.
The records I used were reissues from Classic Records, on 200 gram low noise vinyl. By all means, buy this type of pressing because it is in a totally different league than your run of the mill vinyl from years ago. Also, as I mentioned earlier, in the mastering and cutting of these master laquers, the engineers do not apply low frequency filtering, compression or any other type of alteration beyond perhaps some touch-up EQ. In the past, LPs were very compromised because the engineers cut the masters with the lowest common denomonator of equipment in mind - they wanted to be assured that the records would play on every piece of equipment out there, no matter how . In these pressings, the engineers assume that the equipment that will play it will be top notch, so not compromises are made. I am sure the original 1959 pressings would be far inferior.
Also, the stampers used to make the 200 gram "premium" LPs are only used to make perhaps 500-1000 copies, after which they are used to make the lower priced "mass produced" copies. These lower priced copies will have more ticks and pops than the premium versions, although the surface noise is still lower than LPs of yesteryear, when costs were cut at every step.
I've never noticed a noise buildup or other deterioration on my LPs, but then I have my turntable covered when playing, and keep the records clean. I brush them before play and use an anti-static gun. All my LPs which were bought in years past are far noiser than these new LPs, but they were that way from day one.
I buy all my records at AcousticSounds.com.
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